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Economic Data

Welcome to the ‘Economic Data’ section of Insight DIY, which includes a summary of all of the key UK economic indicators that you may need to know within your business. Each of these key indicators are updated as and when they are released by their various sources and provide a really valuable addition to any monthly report or business overview.

UK Retail Sales

Retail Sales

Main points 

  • In August 2017, the quantity bought (volume) in the retail sales industry increased by 1.0% compared with July 2017; with other non-food stores and non-store retailing as the main contributors to growth.
  • Compared with August 2016, the quantity bought increased by 2.4%; the 52nd consecutive month of year-on-year increase in retail sales. 
  • Year-on-year contribution of food stores remains flat whilst there was a fall in the contribution of growth within petrol stations, showing that contributions to the overall growth came from non-essential items.
  • The underlying pattern in the retail industry is one of growth, three-months on three-months the quantity bought has increased by 1.2%.
  • Store prices increased across all store types on the year, with non-food stores and non-store retailing recording their highest year-on-year price growth since March 1992, at 3.2% and 3.3% respectively.

Period: August 2017

Released: 20th September 2017
Next Release Date: 19th October 2017

A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

Source: Office for National Statistics


BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Retail Sales image
  • In August, UK retail sales increased by 1.3% on a like-for-like basis from August 2016, when they had decreased 0.9% from the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales rose 2.4% in August, against a decline of 0.3% in August 2016, which had been the poorest performance of the year. This is the strongest growth since Easter, above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.9% and 1.6% respectively.
  • Over the three months to August 2017, In-store sales declined 1.4% on a Total basis and 1.9% on a Like-for-like basis.
  • Over the three months to August, Food sales increased 1.8% on a like-for-like basis and 3.2% on a total basis. This continued to slow versus the 3 months to July of 3.4% but remained above the 12-month Total average growth of 2.7%.
  • Over the three-months to August, Non-Food retail sales in the UK increased 0.6% on a like-for-like basis and 0.9% on a total basis, above the 12-month Total average growth of 0.6%.
  • Online sales of Non-Food products grew 11.0% in August, above both the 3-month and 12-month averages of 9.8% and 8.8% respectively. Online penetration rate increased from 21.0% in August 2016 to 21.6% in August 2017.

Release Date: 5th September 2017
Next Release Date: 3rd October 2017.

Source: KPMG Monitor

Bank of England Base Rate

Bank of England

Current Bank Rate: 0.25%
Previous Month’s Bank Rate: 0.25%

Release Date: 14th September 2017
Next Release Date: 2nd November 2017

Source: Bank of England

GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer

Consumer Confidence Index

Monthly Index: -10
Previous Month's Index: -12
Monthly Index Previous Year: -7
Period: August 2017

Increases in all five measures but is this a dead-cat bounce over the dog-days of summer?

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased by two points to -10 in August.  All five measures saw an increase. 

Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, says:

“UK Consumer Confidence rebounded to -10 this month after the score of -12 we reported in July that matched 2016’s post-Brexit low. We’re seeing an uptick in August among consumers when reviewing their personal financial situation for both the past and next 12 months, as well as a slight improvement in views about the general economic situation of the country as a whole. 

These figures must be seen against the backdrop of better news on inflation, public finances, jobs and growth prospects as the UK economy displays some signs of stability after a volatile start to the year. However, the Index has a lot of ground to regain to get back to black. So is this month’s rise significant? Or could we simply be witnessing a dead-cat-bounce over the dog-days of summer?”

Release Date: 31st August 2017

Next Release Date: 29th September 2017

Source: GfK

UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product

Main points

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.3% between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) and Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2017, unrevised from the preliminary estimate.
  • In the output measure of GDP, growth was driven by services, which grew by 0.5% between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2.
  • In the expenditure measure of GDP there was relatively strong growth in government spending and investment; there was, however, a slowdown in growth in both household spending and business investment, to 0.1% and 0.0% respectively in Quarter 2.
  • UK GDP growth in volume terms increased by 1.7% between Quarter 2 2016 and Quarter 2 2017.
  • UK GDP in current prices increased by 0.8% between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 2017.

Release Date: 24th August 2017
Next Release Date: 29th September 2017

Preliminary, second and final estimates of GDP released over a quarter as more data becomes available. The final estimate is published in the Quarterly National Accounts. GDP is the main measure of UK economic growth based on the value of goods and services produced during a given period.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPIH image

Main points

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs 12-month inflation rate was 2.6% in July 2017, unchanged from June 2017.
  • CPIH was re-designated as a National Statistic on 31 July 2017.
  • The price of motor fuel continued to fall and provided the largest downward contribution to change in the rate between June 2017 and July 2017.
  • This was offset by smaller upward contributions from a range of goods and services, including clothing, household goods, gas and electricity, and food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.6% in July 2017, unchanged from June 2017.

Release Date: 15th August 2017
Next Release: 12th September 2017

Price indices, percentage changes and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation. 

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Producer Price Inflation (PPI)

Producer Price Index

Main points

The annual rate of inflation for goods leaving the factory gate slowed for the third time this year, mainly as a result of 2016 price movements dropping out of the annual comparison.

Factory gate prices (output prices) rose 3.2% on the year to July 2017, from 3.3% in June 2017, which is a 0.5 percentage points decline from their recent peak of 3.7% in February and March 2017.

Prices for materials and fuels (input prices) rose 6.5% on the year to July 2017, from 10% in June 2017; as per factory gate prices, the drop in July’s rate is due to 2016 price movements dropping out of the annual comparison.

Food production continued to be the main source of upward contributions to input and output price inflation fuelled by rising prices for home food materials and food products respectively. 

Period: July 2017 

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

Release Date: 15th August 2017
Next Release: 12th September 2017

Source: Office for National Statistics

Nationwide House Price Index

House Prices

Annual house price growth at 2.9%, little changed from June.

  • Modest 0.3% increase month-on-month
  • Seasonally adjusted figure (note that monthly % changes are revised when seasonal adjustment factors are re-estimated)

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said:

“The annual pace of house price growth remained broadly stable in July at 2.9%, only a touch lower than the 3.1% recorded in June.

“On the surface, this appears at odds with recent signs of cooling in the housing market. The number of housing transactions dipped to their lowest level for eight months in June, while in the same month the number of mortgages approved for house purchase moderated to a nine-month low of c.65,000. 

“But a lack of homes on the market appears to be providing support, with annual house price growth remaining only just outside the 3-6% range, that has been prevailing for most of the past two years.

“This pattern looks set to be maintained in the near term. Survey data point to relatively sluggish levels of new buyer enquiries, but at the same time surveyors report that relatively few properties are coming onto the market (and at a time when the number of homes on estate agents’ books is already close to thirty year lows – as shown in the chart below). 

“Ultimately, housing market developments will depend on wider economic performance. The UK economy slowed noticeably in the first half of the year and there has been little to suggest a significant departure from recent trends in the quarters ahead.

“While employment growth has remained relatively robust, household budgets are coming under pressure as wage growth is failing to keep up with the rising cost of living.

“This suggests that housing market activity is likely to remain subdued, with the balance in the market shifting a little further towards buyers in the quarters ahead.

“Nevertheless, constrained supply is likely to continue to provide support for house prices and, as a result, we continue to expect prices to rise by c.2% over 2017 as a whole - only modestly lower than the levels recorded in recent months.” 

Period: July 2017

Release Date: 4th August 2017
Next Release Date: 4th September 2017

Nationwide are the world's largest building society and one of the UK's largest mortgage providers. They have the longest unbroken run of house price data, stretching back to 1952 on a quarterly basis and 1991 on a monthly basis. Here you can access their monthly and quarterly house price reports, special features and download data series. 

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

NHBC - New Build Statistics/New Registrations

NHBC flag

Total Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 44,963
Total Registrations (Rolling Q1 March to May 2016): 40,641
Percentage Change: +11%.

Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 32,561
Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2016): 31,215
Percentage change: +4%

Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 12,402
Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2016): 9,426
Percentage change: +32%

The continued upturn in affordable sector registrations can be attributed to a number of larger Housing Associations developing homes for market rent, private sale and shared ownership along with an increase in joint ventures with the private sector.

Over the rolling quarter nine of the 12 UK regions experienced growth, with West Midlands (+56%), Yorkshire & Humberside (+34%) and the North West (+26%) among the fastest growing areas, when compared to the same time last year.

As the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, NHBC's registration statistics, representing approximately 80% of the new homes market, are a lead indicator of UK house-building activity.

Commenting on the latest figures, NHBC Business Development Director Neil Jefferson said: "It is encouraging to report another positive month of growth in the sector, with levels in May ahead of those seen this time last year. We have seen increases in the levels of new home registrations in both the private and affordable sector and in nine out of 12 UK regions."

Release Date: 5th July 2017
Next Release: August 2017

Source: NHBC

UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit logo

Index: 54.8 – June 2017
Previous month: 56.0 – May 2017

Publication date: 4th July 2017
Next publication date: 4th August 2017

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) is a diffusion index incorporating survey results provided by construction firms throughout the country. A reading above fifty suggests the construction sector is expanding, while a reading below fifty suggests the construction sector is in contraction. Policymakers and traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, rather than waiting for the hard data to emerge.

Source: Markit Economics

UK Labour Market

Unemployment office

Unemployment rate: 4.6% (February to April 2017)
Previous annual rate: 5.1% (December 2015 – February 2016) 

  • Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between November 2016 to January 2017 and February to April 2017, the number of people in work increased, the number of unemployed people fell, and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) also fell.

  • There were 31.95 million people in work, 109,000 more than for November 2016 to January 2017 and 372,000 more than for a year earlier.

  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.8%, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

Period covered: February to April 2017

Publication date: 14th June 2017
Next publication date: 12th July 2017

The level and rate of UK unemployment measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using a definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployed people as those without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks. It also includes those who are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Population Figures

UK Census

UK population: 65,648,100 (30th June 2016 estimate)
UK population: 65,110,000 (mid 2015 estimates)
Percentage change: +0.8%

Male: 32.4 million (49.3%)
Female: 33.0 million (50.7%)

Estimated population of England: 55,268,100 (84.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Scotland: 5,404,700 (8.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Wales: 3,113,200 (4.7% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Northern Ireland: 1,862,100 (2.8% of the UK’s population)

Mid-year population estimates relate to the usually resident population. They account for long-term international migrants (people who change their country of usual residence for a period of 12 months or more) but do not account for short-term migrants (people who come to or leave the country for a period of less than 12 months). This approach is consistent with the standard UN definition for population estimates which is based upon the concept of usual residence and includes people who reside, or intend to reside, in the country for at least twelve months, whatever their nationality.

Data last updated: 22nd June 2017

Next Update: June 2018

Source: ONS


Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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